July 18, 2019

Making Use of a Portable Crane on Your Site

portable crane

Mini cranes have several applications across an assortment of industries. The versatility of these portable cranes make them problem solvers in a variety of scenarios. From construction, to maintenance, and beyond, here are several great ways to make use of a mini crane. 

Restricted Spaces


Portable cranes are often used on interior jobs, as they are compact and versatile enough to fit inside buildings. They are frequently used for installations in shopping centers, office blocks and airports because of their ability to fit inside a building, and because they can be used to lift a variety of materials, from glass to steel. Mini cranes have also been widely used by art galleries, museums and churches to assist with heavy but delicate installations. 


Because of their unique spider leg-like outriggers, mini cranes (sometimes called spider cranes) are excellent for use in tight access areas, even outdoors. The variety of outrigger positions means a portable crane can be positioned on uneven terrain, even stairs, while still providing a safe and reliable base for the lift. They are even able to work around landscaping and small trees. 

Mini cranes are ideal for outdoor residential work within a restricted space, like installing a skylight, lifting a hot tub, or even setting beams within a small yard. For commercial work, they fit easily between buildings in dense urban areas, and typically don’t require the street permits needed for larger cranes on a job site. 

Scaffolding Alternative

A mini crane with a man lift can be used as an effective replacement for scaffolding for a short term job. The set up time and duration of stay for scaffolding is disruptive to the surrounding environment, indoors or out. It also requires a great deal of time and manpower to set scaffolding up and tear it down again. Using a portable crane with a man lift as an aerial platform for painting or routine maintenance can save time and money associated with scaffolding set up and tear down, and reduces the need for a scaffolding permit. 

Glass Installation 

Mini cranes are excellent to have for a glazing job, particularly those with lots of or large pieces of glass. When paired with a vacuum lifter and glass manipulator, they take the burden of lifting off of the crew. This can help reduce many of the hazards associated with glass installation, and saves costs without sacrificing safety or efficiency.  

Glass installation with a vacuum lifter.

Rooftops with Weight Restrictions 

A mini crane is a great alternative to a tower crane or mobile crane for roof work or adding additional floors to the top of a structure. They are significantly lighter than larger cranes, so they are an excellent solution to lift materials from the ground to the work space while positioned on the roof. Using a portable crane on the roof reduces the need for road closures associated with a larger crane, which can lead to cost and time savings. 

Landscaping & Monuments

As mentioned above, mini cranes are able to work in restricted spaces with minimal to no damage to the surrounding area. This is especially useful for landscaping projects that involve removing or placing large rocks or sculptural features. A portable crane can also be used to place heavy monuments in burial parks and memorial gardens. 

Industrial Plant Overhaul

Mini cranes are an invaluable tool for scheduled plant shutdowns for maintenance. They can be used to move or lift heavy machinery for repairs and cleaning. Plants often have limited space for lifting equipment, which is why a portable crane is perfect. It reduces the physical strain on workers, and the efficiency of using a mini crane keeps the overhaul on schedule. They also minimize the possibility of damage due to heavy equipment, and may reduce the need for scaffolding. Using a battery powered mini crane removes the need for re-fueling and saves time that could be lost to this.

Entertainment Industry

While mini cranes are excellent tools for the construction industry, they also have applications in other industries, like entertainment. Cranes are frequently used to build stage installations at arenas and stadiums, to erect sets for film and television, and even in lighting and stunt work. 

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Our Cranes

At SOLOS, we use the UNIC URW-295 mini crane. It has a telescoping boom, searcher hook, and fly jib with a variety of working ranges. The portable crane has four outriggers that fold up, with the boom, to a compact 0.6 meters (2 feet) wide and 1.375 meters (4.5 feet) tall. It’s able to fit through a standard doorway, but has a working radius of 8.41 meters (27.59 feet). 

This model of UNIC mini crane has a radio remote control option, providing better operator visibility during difficult lifts, and includes the Lift Smart Advanced Safety System load indicator to prevent oversized lifts. It runs on fuel, or can be battery powered, making zero emission worksites a possibility. 

For more information on how you can make use of a mini crane on your site, contact us

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